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Tesla Beats the Street: First Peek at Fourth-Quarter Results

Strong sales propel fourth-quarter results.


Tesla on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat Wall Street expectations on strong sales, sending shares soaring 14 percent in after-hours trading.

Excluding one-time items, the Palo Alto, Calif., luxury electric automaker posted net income of $46 million, or 33 cents per share, on revenue of $761 million.

Analysts were looking for earnings of 21 cents per share on $677 million in revenue, according to the average estimate from the Thomson Financial Network as of earlier Wednesday (those numbers climbed upward in the last few days).

On a GAAP basis, Tesla lost $16 million, or 13 cents per share, on revenue of $615 million.

Tesla pre-announced in January that it sold and delivered a record high 6,900 vehicles, exceeding earlier guidance by 20 percent. That final number landed at 6,892, Tesla said.

Company executives will hop on an investor conference call at 2:30 pm PT right here. As we wrote yesterday, analysts will be especially interested in anything Tesla has to say about plans for its gigantic battery plant or a second production line for the popular Model S sedans.


For the full year, the company said it expects to deliver 35,000 Model S sedans, a 55 percent leap over last year, as it pushes weekly production up to 1,000 cars. As of Tuesday, analysts at Robert W. Baird & Co. were only looking for 30,000 to 32,000 vehicles this year, above earlier estimates of 29,000.

Tesla said that battery supply will continue to constrain production during the first half. But it expects significant improvement during the latter end of the year. That raises the question of whether the company expects its “giga factory” to come online during that time.

Expenses will climb “significantly” this year, Tesla added.

“We plan to expand production capacity for Model S and Model X (the forthcoming sport utility vehicle), invest in our stores, service and Supercharger infrastructure, complete the development of Model X and start early design work on our third generation car,” the company said.


At the end of its letter to shareholders, the company said: “Very shortly, we will be ready to share more information about the Tesla Gigafactory. This will allow us to achieve a major reduction in the cost of our battery packs and accelerate the pace of battery innovation. Working in partnership with our suppliers, we plan to integrate precursor material, cell, module and pack production into one facility. With this facility, we feel highly confident of being able to create a compelling and affordable electric car in approximately three years.”

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